African proverbs from South Africa including the Lobedu, Xhosa and Zulu tribes. At the bottom of this article are proverbs that are attributed to South Africa in general.
Lobedu/Lovedu Proverbs The Lobedu tribe, originally from Zimbabwe, migrated to their present home in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
The one who loses the cattle is the one who herds them.
The sluggard has no locusts even if they sleep in his courtyard.
A brand burns him who stirs it up.
A person who will not take advice gets knowledge when trouble overtakes him.
He has drunk the juice of the flower of the wild aloe.
He has fastened a dog to a shrub.
He has gone in pursuit of the birds of the sea.
He is a buck of an endless forest.
He is ripe inside, like a water-melon.
I, the adhesive grass, will stick fast to you.
It dies and rises like the moon.
It is a cob stripped of maize in an ashpit.
Misfortune of soup made of shanks and feet.
No partridge scratches the ground in search of food for another.
One does not become great by claiming greatness.
One fly does not provide for another.
The baldness of a head begins at the temples.
The crab has stuck fast between the stones at the entrance of its hole.
The foot has no nose.
The land is dead.
The mist and the sun are together.
The sun never sets without fresh news.
The walls have come into collision.
There is no beast that does not roar in its den.
There is no wormwood that comes into flower and does not wither.
They are people of experience who do not sleep at a strange place.
They prevent us from getting red clay from the pit, and they do not use it.
Throats are all alike in swallowing.
We shall hear, we are on the side towards which the wind blows.
You are creeping on your knees to the fireplace.
You are lighting a fire in the wind.
You disturb monkeys on their way to drink.
You drink out of the old cup.
You have cast away your own for that which you are not sure of.
You will prefer roasted meat.
You will shed tears with one eye like a monkey.
Zulu Proverbs The Zulu tribe is the largest ethnic group in South Africa.
A fine staff is hewn from flora in foreign lands.
A tree is known by its fruit.
Copying everyone else all the time, the monkey one day cut his throat.
Harsh world, this world.
He that forgives gains victory.
He who hates, hates himself.
The foot has no place of repose.
The groin pains in sympathy with the sore.
The horse that arrives early gets good drinking water.
The lead cow gets whipped the most.
What has horns must not be hid in a sack.
More South African Proverbs
A chief is a chief because of a nation.
A chief is a hornless cow
A chief's hands are long
A clever king is the brother of peace.
A crowd can easily overpower a bull.
A kraal is built around a chief's voice.
A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred.
Do not call a dog with a whip in your hand.
Even an ant can hurt an elephant.
Good behavior must come from the top.
Horns which are put on do not stick properly.
If you are looking for a fly in your food it means that you are full.
It takes a long time to unite an entire village hunting group.
Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it chased it.
The house of a leader who negotiates survives.
The jungle is stronger than the elephant.
The power of the crocodile is in the water.
African Proverbs for Weddings, Marriage and Love
This eBook contains many African proverbs on love and marriage. Some proverbs are very sweet and romantic while others are tongue in cheek and almost making fun of love and romance.